Susan is a professional flautist in Boston who has been handicapped since childhood and is forced to wear a leg brace to get around. After breaking up with her boyfriend, she accepts the offer to travel to Europe on a concert tour. While in Paris, she comes up with an idea to disguise her leg by putting it in a cast and travel on her own to the French Alps to be treated without pity. Not looking to find romance, Susan however has become the interest of Peter, a news photographer. They soon fall in love and Susan is forced to decide if she should tell Peter the truth about herself.
Just the Way You Are is a 1984 American comedy-drama film starring Kristy McNichol, Michael Ontkean, Kaki Hunter, André Dussollier, Catherine Salviat, Robert Carradine, Patrick Cassidy and directed by Édouard Molinaro.
About the Movie
Kristy McNichol suffers from two serious afflictions in ”Just the Way You Are,” which opens today at Loews Astor Plaza and other theaters: a crippled leg (as a result of a childhood illness) and a fatal attractiveness to men. The film surrounds Susan Berlanger (Miss McNichol), a talented flutist with more handsome admirers than she cares to count. Everywhere Susan goes, it seems, she is the target of relentless male flirting. Two of the film’s problems are that Miss McNichol is never appealing enough to explain all this, and that she hasn’t the faintest notion of how to flirt back.
Her role here is on the mature side, which means that it affords no room for the tomboyishness that is Miss McNichol’s most disarming quality. As Susan, she flashes a pearly and patently synthetic smile at every suitor. There’s one (Lance Guest) who works for her answering service and is entranced with the sound of her voice; there’s another (Robert Carradine) who’s a masher Susan meets in a restaurant. Then there’s the old beau (Timothy Daly) who’s trying to talk her into marriage. All this is so strenuous for poor Susan that she eventually takes herself to a French ski resort to get away from it all.
There, she dons a plaster cast instead of her customary leg brace, so she can fit in more easily. She also makes a few more male friends: a skier (Patrick Cassidy), a photographer (Michael Ontkean) and a French industrialist (Andre Dussollier). The process by which she eventually wins a ski contest, learns to live with her handicap and winnows the field of suitors to one is stupefyingly dull. Edouard Molinaro (”La Cage aux Folles”), who directed, seems no more at home with the French sequences than with the American ones.
Everything about ”Just the Way You Are” seems phony, from the sound to the snow. The dialogue often sounds dubbed. And Mr. Ontkean, in a mock-charming sequence that has Miss McNichol throwing a snowball at him, leaves a large wad of snow in his ear for the rest of a longish scene. The snow doesn’t hurt him, nor does it melt.
Just the Way You Are (1984)
Directed by: Édouard Molinaro
Starring: Kristy McNichol, Michael Ontkean, Kaki Hunter, André Dussollier, Catherine Salviat, Robert Carradine, Patrick Cassidy
Screenplay by: Allan Burns
Cinematography by: Claude Lecomte
Film Editing by: Georges Klotz, Claudio Ventura
Costume Design by: Jean Zay
Set Decoration by: Anthony Greco, David Harbonn
Art Direction by: François de Lamothe
Music by: Vladimir Cosma
Distributed by: Metro Goldwyn Mayer, United Artists
Release Date: November 16, 1984